BRIGHT Chambers in Middle Road, next to Bugis+, is being sold for about $46 million, BT understands.
The buyer is thought to be entities linked to Pamfleet Group, an independent and privately held real estate investment adviser with offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Jones Lang LaSalle, the exclusive agent for Bright Chambers, marketed the property through a tender exercise which closed on April 18. The property is near Bugis MRT station.
Located at 108 Middle Road, Bright Chambers is a nine-storey commercial development comprising eight units with a total strata area of 34,972 sq ft. The development is on 5,263 sq ft of land. The site, zoned for commercial use, has a balance lease term of about 60 years. Market watchers reckon the authorities are unlikely to top up the site's lease to 99 years, judging from what happened to Midlink Plaza nearby.
Midlink Plaza was a nine-storey building that used to stand at the corner of Middle Road and Queen Street. It has been pulled down by its new owner (an associate company of Lian Beng Group), which is redeveloping the site into a hotel. In January last year, the authorities granted provisional permission for a project with 492 hotel rooms and 90 sq m of shop space. However, a request for the site's lease to be topped up to 99 years has been turned down by the authorities, noted industry observers.
When Lian Beng bought Midlink Plaza in late 2011, it had a remaining land lease of about 68 years.
The Lian Beng associate paid $126.8 million or slightly under $1,000 per square foot per plot ratio for the property. That site too is zoned for commercial use.
As for Bright Chambers, opposite the Bugis Junction/Intercontinental Singapore stretch, market watchers reckon it could make sense for the new owner to reposition the asset, spruce it up, and further subdivide the existing strata units into smaller spaces for sale.
Alternatively, it could hold it as an investment property for rental income after refurbishing the asset.
The building has frontage along three roads - Middle Road, Victoria Street and Manila Street.
Leases in the building are up for renewal, which would provide more leeway for the new owner to execute whatever plans it has in mind.
Bright Chambers is being transacted through a collective sale, which means the deal will be subject to approval by the Strata Titles Board unless the minority owners agree to the transaction.
"The Midlink Plaza and Bright Chambers transactions show that even for older buildings on sites where a good portion of the original 99-year leasehold tenure has been exhausted, there is still scope for them to be sold - provided the price is right," said a seasoned property agent.